First Day of Summer

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First Day of Summer (Iceland)

Thursday between April 19-25
In Iceland the First Day of Summer is second in importance only to Christmas and New Year's Day. It is a legal holiday observed on the Thursday that falls between April 19 and April 25, a time of year that marks the end of the long northern winter. The custom of giving gifts on this day was widespread by the middle of the 19th century, although they were usually homemade articles or, in some areas, a share of the fisherman's catch.
Special foods associated with the First Day of Summer include summer-day cakes—flat rye breads up to a foot in diameter—on top of which the day's share of food for each person would be piled. Since the turn of the century it has also been a popular day for young people to give speeches, poetry readings and dramatic performances, or to engage in singing, dancing, and sports.
BkHolWrld-1986, Apr 22
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 297

Celebrated in: Iceland

Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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